The Dreamer Falls, the third adventure in The Secret of the Tirthas, is now in draft and due for publication this summer. Itâ€™s set mainly in the jungle in Cameroon, where Lizzie has to go to save a local village boy whoâ€™s accidentally discovered one of the portals in her garden.
I decided to set The Dreamer Falls in Cameroon for two reasons: 1) I was keen to bring into a story a Nkisi fetish statue and some other interesting African artefacts Iâ€™d seen at an exhibition in The National Gallery and 2) I wanted Lizzie to experience the awe and mystery and hardship of traveling through the jungle. And particularly, I wanted her to encounter a few (but not all) of these beautiful creatures, captured on a trip to Uganda a few years ago:
And some of this magnificent scenery:
Lastly, I couldn’t resist including this photo of the group that went looking for gorillas – the rangers carried guns because of the danger from poachers and armed rebels.
In my dream I was a bird on the moorland.
I saw quick and sure
but with only half an eye.
Free from weight and damage
I moved through a million blistered thorns,
and gorged myself on hidden berries.
I watched dark clouds fill the sky
and sliced through growing winds
to gauge the coming storms.
When the rain fell heavily
I squatted down and ruffled feathers
to reduce the misery of wet.
In the gorgeous midge-thick summer
I swooped my signature in the blank blue sky,
and shrank up small when the great hawks soared.
At dawn and dusk I tipped back my head
and sang loud and well as I could
to the heavenly point at the base of my throat, the world.
This was one of several poems I had published in the Belmont Art Centreâ€™s Poetry File programme for teaching in secondary schools in Shropshire. The photo is by Elliott Collwell, via Flickr’s Creative Commons.